Guest blogger: Christina Katz
Post #31: Get Ready to Show Up
I’ve already written 60,000 words on how to develop and build an author platform before you head on out into the world to promote your book (AKA Get Known Before the Book Deal from Writer’s Digest Books). So here are seven things you need to do before the release of your first book that I haven’t said anywhere else.
These suggestions may be especially relevant to moms, since my first book came out after I was a mom. Or perhaps these are just good suggestions for every first-time author. I trust you’ll let me know.
- Stash some of your first advance check. You’ll need about five hundred bucks to spend on yourself. There is typically a rather impoverished period, which occurs between the time your book is turned in and when you receive your second advance check. You will really, really wish you could spend some money on yourself during this time of preparing for your book’s release, so stash the dough! You won’t be spending the money celebrating, but rather investing in yourself to prepare for your book launch and tour, but it’s okay to enjoy yourself too.
- You deserve a makeover. Take some of your stashed money and get a really great haircut (and color, if you need it), fresh makeup, and a couple of outfits that will look professional live and/or on television. Opt for neutral pants or skirts that can be mixed and matched with a few nicely tailored tops. Opt for colors that make you look and feel fabulous. Solids are typically preferred for television and red or orange are the worst choices. If you see something splashy and you just have to have it, just make sure you have a more conservative option too, in case you need it.
- A little snug? If you are a mom, there’s a pretty good chance that clothes that used to fit you no longer fit. If you are reluctant to face the truth, be sure to try on old standbys far in advance and get a second opinion of how you look from someone who will be brutally honest. Remember, three outfits on sale at your favorite local retailer will look just as nice as those that are not on sale. So why not save money and buy more? If you are attending a multi-day event, you’ll want to have several outfits on hand.
- Got your headshot yet? If not, you’ll want to get it about six months in advance of your book coming out. Headshots are well worth the money spent. This is why I devoted an entire chapter to this topic in Get Known (pages 201-206), though I don’t think I mentioned the best possible timing. If you can find a photographer who will let you use a variety of poses, even better. Six months ahead of your book’s publication date will give you maximum benefits from your shot.
- Learn about new millennium book marketing. Book promotion isn’t the same as it used to be and if you hop online to try to learn the latest principles, you will be surfing for a very long time (and it will interfere with what I’m about to suggest next). Three books you can’t afford to miss are Permission Marketing by Seth Godin, The Long Tail by Chris Anderson, and Plug Your Book by Steve Weber. After you read Get Known, these three books will give you lots of great book promo ideas. Think about social networking after you have your book done and these three books thoroughly earmarked and underlined.
- Adhere to a strict schedule of personal down time. I’m talking about one or two days a week that are absolutely sacred to you and your family when you don’t work. Or, okay, if you do work, it’s for an extremely limited length of time. Best scenario, you will turn off your computer and unplug your brain for at least 48 hours a week. Book promotion is exhausting and since businesses moved online, if you don’t reserve time to rest, you won’t. Just trust me on this. Rest is good. Start practicing now, especially if you haven’t gotten enough rest during your book-writing process. I predict that the publishing production process is going to speed up, and if you don’t take good care of yourself, you’ll pay with your health.
- Channel your most resilient self. Months before your book comes out, you need to start practicing shrugging while saying, “Oh well, I’ll get ‘em next time.” The reason is because things will often not go your way, my dear author. If you are a first-timer, you might hit 50% of the targets you pitch. Other times your inquiries might be met with annoyance, sarcasm, indifference, or silence. Don’t be surprised by this. Simply shrug and say, “NEXT!”
Just like everything else in authorhood, book promotion gets easier the more you do it. The first time through the paces is the hardest. You are bound to make mistakes, feel like a complete imposter, and even wonder why you ever thought you wanted to write the damn book in the first place. This too shall pass. Shoot for double the amount of opportunities you hope for and you will achieve a respectable amount of buzz for your book.
Good luck! I hope you let me know when your book is launched.
Today’s book drawing
To enter to win a signed, numbered copy of Writer Mama, answer one of the following questions in this blog’s comments.
Question One: Will you feel like you deserve the investment of time and money to prepare for your book’s launch?
Question Two: We’ve been through 31 days of preparation for authorhood. Was there anything you were curious about that I didn’t cover? Or anything you wanted to know more about? Please let me know. Thanks!
Thanks for participating! Only US residents, or folks with a US mailing address can participate in the drawing. Please only enter once per day.
This concluded the Writer Mama Two-Year Anniversary Blog Tour Giveaway. Visit Writer Mama Riffs to view the entire list of blogs that were chosen for the tour.
Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids by Christina Katz (Writer’s Digest Books 2007)
Kids change your life, but they don’t necessarily have to end your career. Stay-at-home moms will love this handy guide to rearing a successful writing career while raising their children. The busy mom’s guide to writing life, this book gives stay-at-home moms the encouragement and advice they need including everything from getting started and finding ideas to actually finding time to do the work—something not easy to do with the pitter-patter of little feet. With advice on how to network and form a business, this nurturing guide covers everything a writer mama needs to succeed at her second job.
Christina Katz is also the author of the newly released Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform (Writer’s Digest Books 2008).